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To preserve if not enhance intelligence, work on speed of information processing


Declin­ing intel­li­gence in old age linked to visu­al pro­cess­ing (Sci­ence Dai­ly):

Researchers have uncov­ered one of the basic process­es that may help to explain why some peo­ple’s think­ing skills decline in old age…

The results sug­gest that the brain’s abil­i­ty to make cor­rect deci­sions based on brief visu­al impres­sions lim­its the effi­cien­cy of more com­plex men­tal func­tions,” says Stu­art Ritchie of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh. “As this basic abil­i­ty declines with age, so too does intel­li­gence. The typ­i­cal per­son who has bet­ter-pre­served com­plex think­ing skills in old­er age tends to be some­one who can accu­mu­late infor­ma­tion quick­ly from a fleet­ing glance.”

The results pro­vide evi­dence that the slow­ing of sim­ple, visu­al deci­sion-mak­ing process­es might be part of what under­lies declines in the com­plex deci­sion mak­ing that we rec­og­nize as gen­er­al intel­li­gence. The results might also find prac­ti­cal use giv­en the sim­plic­i­ty of the inspec­tion time mea­sure…”

Study: A strong link between speed of visu­al dis­crim­i­na­tion and cog­ni­tive age­ing. (Cur­rent Biol­o­gy)

  • Abstract: Attempts to explain people’s dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence and cog­ni­tive age­ing often hypoth­e­size that they are found­ed sub­stan­tial­ly upon dif­fer­ences in speed of infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing …We mea­sured visu­al ‘inspec­tion time’, a psy­chophys­i­cal indi­ca­tor of the effi­cien­cy of the ear­ly stages of per­cep­tu­al pro­cess­ing , in a large (n = 628 with full data), nar­row-age sam­ple at mean ages 70, 73, and 76 years…Results showed a mod­er­ate cor­re­la­tion between inspec­tion time per­for­mance and intel­li­gence, and a strong cor­re­la­tion between change in inspec­tion time and change in intel­li­gence from 70 to 76. These results sup­port the pro­cess­ing speed the­o­ry of cog­ni­tive age­ing. They go beyond cross-sec­tion­al cor­re­la­tion to show that cog­ni­tive change is accom­pa­nied by changes in basic visu­al infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing as we age.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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